Pepsi Refresh Project

A few days back I posted this comment on twitter,

For the #pepsirefreshcanada I think that the Covenant House will use the money better, But I still have to vote for Scouts Canada Camps

which some took to be “brutal”.

There was a heated discussion going back and forth between some others while I was at work. While they debated the merits of different sides, I’d like to set clear my opinion.

When I made that comment, I was unaware of the $50,000 (50%) going to send 1,000 kids to camp. This is what I support. Making it easier for kids to go to camp is fantastic. We should be celebrating this win for our organization.

However, it is the other 50% that my tweet was about.

Scouts Canada allocated $50,000 for “a strategy to open a Scout Outdoor Activty Centre in every province in Canada”. Not $50K to open the Centres. $50K for a strategy. In the same description, it was later described as $50 000 for, “funding to develop a national camping strategy”. Huh? Haven’t we been doing this for a few years? We take kids out camping into the outdoors and do age appropriate, fun and educational activities run by trained adult volunteers. Do we really need to spend that kind of money on conference calls?

If there was a little bit more of a breakdown of what was in mind, perhaps I could see it. Covenant House had a better breakdown/justification of how they would spend the money. They bid to have 25 beds available for youth for a year. At $4000 a year per bed, that’s just under $11 a bed per night. Not bad all things considered. I’m willing to bet that more than 25 youth would see direct benefit from those beds over the course of a year.

Now, yes Scouts Canada’s would affect 1000 youth directly and countless more with the strategy, however they didn’t articulate what they would spend this money on. They promised potential future benefit. Alright, my gaming brain just kicked out the argument, “But if keep spamming tier 1 units, and don’t invest in the tech tree, how do you expect to win in the long term?”. For those of you that need a translation, “Yes research and development takes away from the now, but it will pay off in the long run.” Well sonny, this isn’t a video game. There is no simplistic, tight, predetermined tech tree. The specific benefits are never known before hand in life.

With limited funds, we have to pick the ones with maximum benefit. I don’t disagree that a National camping strategy is a worthwhile cause. I just don’t think it’s worth 50 Grand.

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